Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shackled to the Shelves

Lately I've been reading a book entitled 'How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy' by Orson Scott Card.  If you haven't guess, it's a craft book that helps you to write science fiction and fantasy.  While I do normally write within the fantasy genre (technically Urban Fantasy) sci-fi is a realm well outside of what I would normally even so much as read.

So I bought the book, and started reading it yesterday.  So far it's been really interesting.  We haven't gotten much into the hows of writing.  He started the book by trying to define the borders of science fiction.

It's really not as easy as it sounds, as science fiction is an extremely fluid genre.  It covers so much that's it's practically impossible to define the edges of it.  Regardless of that, he did a good job.  I believe I have a much better idea of what sci-fi is, and where my stories could fit into it.

During this process, however, he talked about being published sci-fi and getting stuck within the confines of that genre.

Now, with a genre such as sci-fi, this could be not so bad, simply because of how fluid it is.  A lot can fit under the header of 'sci-fi and fantasy'.  However, it got me thinking about my own writing, and how diverse it can be.

I will write anything from High Fantasy, to Sci-Fi to YA, to literary fiction (though those are few and far between for me.  I tend to prefer a little mystic in my novels).  The last thing I want is to be confined to a single genre for my entire career (assuming, of course, that my career ever does take off and I don't spend my life going from one day job to another...but that's another story altogether.)

My first novel that I'm hoping to publish is an Urban Fantasy.  Set around a werewolf (who happens to be an assassin) and what she goes through in order to satisfy her morals.  ( read that right...morals.  Go figure, right?)

My second novel is a YA centered around a young girl who discovers that she has the ability to manipulate (and communicate with) water.  It's about as different from Pandora as you can get.

Then there's the Sci-Fi I'm in the middle of planning.

With those three novels alone, I already know that I'm not going to be able to always publish under the same genre.

This gave me a moment of worry.  I mean, am I going to be pushing away publishers and agents because I don't write only in one genre?  Is that going to effect my fan base, or publishability?  Was I making it harder on myself than I need to, just because of what I'm writing?  Should I define myself as one type of writer?

It took me a second, but I managed to calm down. (I'd like to point out, this isn't the book's fault, but rather my own overactive imagination that cast shadows across books that aren't even written yet)

Yes, there will be agents or publishers out there that might be put off by a multi-genre author.  But, obviously, those are not the agents or publishers that I want to be dealing with.  I refuse to be caged into one genre.  In fact, I demand to be allowed to move as I will, and write what I chose!

A friend of mine Eric A. Satchwill said it the best:  'Let us fly and frolic freely among the wild worlds of words!  Shake off the shackles of the shelves!'

We're writers.  We live in the worlds created by our imaginations!  Why should we be limited to one world because someone says that's who we are?  We are free to be whomever we want, no matter how many books have made it to the shelves.

I am undefinable.  I am not a Sci-Fi writer.  I am not a YA writer.  I'm not even an Urban Fantasy writer.  I'm a writer, plain and simple, and I will not limit the worlds that I live in each and every day of my life!

Do you think that writers should be confined to one genre simply because they've been published there before?

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